When you have chosen a teacher and are working with them studying meditation and such, often you become aware that there is a lot of work that can be done around them; setup for classes, organize the group for events, help with website and communications or outreach to the community – well the list goes on and on. But you get the idea.
When we volunteer to help our teacher in this way, it is called Seva, or Selfless service. Some organizations like to call it volunteering. Whatever you call it – it is one of the most important spiritual disciplines you can partake in, as it creates a deep connection with the teacher and your lineage, and in turn gives you an opportunity to learn many aspects of the spiritual path.
When we bring a spirit of offering this work to the higher good of all – our efforts become spiritualized and a conduit for teachings.
The people who take on the work for their teacher become very precious to them. As they are helping the teacher fulfill his/her mission – which more than likely is simply fulfilling the teacher’s own teacher’s mission – and so it goes. The best teachers are the greatest sevites. They fill their day and night with constant service to their own teachers vision.
There is such a beauty to this spiritual discipline. As it can often lead to some very profound and important insights.
One of the aspects of volunteering is the role we are given to play – it is never an accident. Maybe you are asked to wash windows – and while you are washing the windows you realize “I am cleaning and purifying my consciousness with every motion that I clean these windows with.” It’s like that. So take notice what your given position is and look to see how that could benefit your path towards enlightenment.
Another most profound realization one could have is that of non-doership.
Non-doership is when we realize that we are not the doer of our actions – we are simply doing what is brought about by all the causes and conditions of the moment – like how we breathe – without intention or decision – most of the time, we are just simply breathed – similarly we are lived.
When we step out of this ‘owning’ our actions, a wonderful freedom takes place – we are unhindered.
I remember once I was at a function with one of my teachers back about 15 years ago. And my job was to do all the flowers for the huge pictures that where hanging in the Main hall where most of the programs where to take place. I was given this job even though I’d never done it before – but I thought I could probably do it OK. What I hadn’t taken into consideration was the weight of the roses I had chosen. That was a mistake. The leis couldn’t support the weight.
But a weird thing happened when the whole thing fell apart. Even though it was a big problem that we didn’t have any flowers on the pictures and a lot of people where upset. I felt no ownership of it – My ‘boss’ was angrily talking to me but all I felt inside was total contentment – almost like all that was happening outside was a dream. I can’t describe it much better than this. I felt like I couldn’t take blame for what happened anymore that I could have taken credit if it had worked. There was simply no ‘I’ involved in the whole thing.
It was one of my most sacred experiences during Selfless Service. I was transcendent and free for about 3 days. Wonderful.
There are other lessons from seva too of course; learning to work with others well, learning news skills in relating, serving a higher purpose, cultivating generosity – to just name a few.
So, if you get an opportunity to offer seva for your teacher – take it. Just notice how things shift for you in your practices of meditation.
It surely inspires a quickening on the path.
A good mantra for directing our energy to higher states of service is:
OM SRI HANUMATE RAMAHA
DEDICATION OF THE PRANA TO HIGHER PURPOSES
Say it 108 times in the morning and 108 times at night.